Strikes against austerity package to paralyse Greece
A general strike was set to paralyse debt-racked Greece Thursday as most transport workers downed tools in protest of government austerity measures, DPA reported.
As of midnight, all flights and ferries stopped running along with most of the public transport system although taxis were still available. Most public offices, including schools, were closed for the day, and hospitals were only treating emergency cases.
Information was scarce as radio and television journalists joined the 24-hour strike.
The strikers were protesting measures by the government to mitigate national debts of almost 300 billion euros (408 billion dollars).
In recent weeks, a hiring freeze and pay cuts have been imposed on the country's public services and taxes have been raised.
Prime Minister George Papandreou said he has "sympathy" for the strikers but there is simply "no money" for any other course of action.
The European Commission is keeping a close eye on measures taken by Greece to bring its national debt under control.